Cars Set Ablaze, Hateful Slogans Sprayed in West Bank Hate Crime

'Silence will be answered with silence' as well as slogans linked to the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori near the settlement of Yitzhar were scrawled in the village of Fara'ata

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A car set on fire in the Palestinian village of Fara'ata in the West Bank, December 20, 2019.
A car set on fire in the Palestinian village of Fara'ata in the West Bank, December 20, 2019.

Two vehicles were set ablaze and malicious writings were scrawled in a West Bank Palestinian village overnight Thursday, local residents reported.

Graffiti reading "silence will be answered with silence" and "Hello from Kumi Ori" was spray-painted in the village of Fara'ata. Israel police have launched an investigation into the incident.

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Fara'ata mayor Abdul Munaem Sana'ah told the Palestinian Authority's news agency Wafa Friday that two cars torched overnight were owned by two young residents of the village. This is not the first time that settlers have carried out these kinds of acts, he said, and that their goal is to sow fear and encourage residents to leave the village.

A car set ablaze in Fara'ata, the West Bank, December 20, 2019.

The Israeli army enforced a closed-off military area order on the outpost at Kumi Ori hill near the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar following settler violence against Israeli soldiers in October, which culminated when some 30 West Bank settlers threw stones at soldiers and punctured their vehicles' tires, lightly wounding one.

Despite the order, a Border Police tent was set on fire outside Yitzhar, and cars were vandalized in the nearby Palestinian village of Yatma.

Inciting slogans sprayed in Hebrew reading 'Silence will be answered with silence,' and 'Hello from Kumi Ori' sprayed in West Bank Palestinian village, December 20, 2019.

In a separate incident, two vehicles were damaged in Hebron, near the Jewish settlement of Givat Ha'avot, the Israeli human rights NGO B'Tselem said later on Friday.

Overnight Wednesday some 25 vehicles were vandalized and hateful graffiti was sprayed in a Palestinian village near Jerusalem.

Residents of the village of al-Jib called the police Thursday morning after finding over a dozen cars with punctured tires. In addition, graffiti reading "Arabs? Expel or kill" was scrawled on a wall in the village. Another said "Arabs = enemies."

An investigation has been launched into the incident, Israel Police said. At the scene, officers confiscated the memory card from a camera used by a B'Tselem activist to document the scene, and told him he would be called in for questioning.

During 2019, Israeli civilians were responsible for 256 acts of violence in the West Bank, directed at either Palestinians or Israel Defense Forces soldiers, according to figures from the defense establishment.

While this represents a drop compared to 2018 in which there were 378 violent incidents, defense officials are concerned about an increase in the severity of the violence and the audaciousness of those responsible.

They are particularly alarmed by the continuing increase in so-called “price tag” attacks – vandalizing property and spraying hate graffiti. This year there were 50 such acts against Palestinian property, which is about the same as in 2018 – but which represents a three-fold increase over 2017.

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